There are some words we get in trouble for using in a woodworking magazine. Here are a few: “foolproof” (fools, we have found, are very clever), “holiday” (don’t ask) and “sexy.”
Sure, it’s OK to put a half-naked woman on the cover of a magazine with “that word” in 42-point type in the checkout line at the market where I get my cheese curds and snack crackers. But put “that word” in a woodworking magazine, and people become rather put out , like you threw a dozen cuddly puppies into the river.
So if you are sensitive to the word sexy, please stop reading. Because I am about to use the word in a sentence.
The Bad Axe saws from TechnoPrimitives are completely and almost impossibly sexy. Now … exhale.
I recently reviewed these saws in the November 2009 issue of Popular Woodworking, but one full magazine page did not capture all my feelings about these saws (indeed, I have more than one feeling; I’m a modern man). These saws are just perfect in every way. Sure they cut well, but any wizard with a file can turn a putty knife into a surgical instrument.
What is really amazing about these saws is the level of detail with their construction. Photos don’t do them justice. The cherry totes feel like they have already been broken in by 100 years of use. There are no hard lines biting into your palms. The medallion and sawnuts are seated perfectly in the tote. The saw’s steel back and blade are mortised neatly and crisply.
Even the back itself is something to talk about. TechnoPrimitives uses a folded steel back (you can even get it in a deep black finish), just like the best American saws of the 19th century. Back then the British were partial to brass backs; Americans liked steel. The back also has a nice crisp stamp with the maker’s name.
And the coolness extends to the blade. Mark Harrell at TechnoPrimitives went over the top when branding the blade. I don’t know what to call it. It’s not really an etch, it’s more like a fine engraving. In any case, it’s sharp and doesn’t rub off on your work like on some low-end saws.
As far as the teeth go, I encourage you to check out Harrell’s site for all the details on how he files the teeth. The saws cut extremely well right out of their environmentally friendly box.
Last weekend I used two Bad Axe saws for all the joinery on this White Water Shaker bench. And during the summer I used the heck out of them while building three projects for the book “The Joiner and Cabinet Maker.”
Every time I picked them up I was reminded of one of the reasons I like modern tools: They are a totem, a reminder that we can still make things in this country that are damn good. While growing up in Fort Smith, Ark., I watched the town (and my next-door neighbor) struggle when the two major manufacturers there moved lines overseas. Some days I wonder if all we make in North America is debt, tool reviews and funny TV shows.
But when I pick up a tool from Veritas, Lie-Nielsen, Wenzloff & Sons, Bad Axe or one of the dozens of other makers we have today, I’m both heartened and inspired to make things with my hands.
Here endeth the sermon (sorry about that).
You can download a pdf of my review of Bad Axe saws from Popular Woodworking by clicking on the link below.